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Day 277 – A new start on wheels!

Day 265-267: Yerevan

We’ve been here for a few days now and my bike is finally fixed! I would like to thank the Giant Armenia team for having been able to solve all the complicated problems because of many parts I had to change!

So I now find myself with a Giant frame (the Rancon Disk 2017) with the following new elements:

  • Frame
  • Cassette (8 speeds vs. 10 forward)
  • Chain
  • Saddle tube
  • Rear wheel
  • Derailleur
  • Anti-theft (I forgot the old one on the bridge at the accident site)

I’m doing well for a total of about 400€, knowing that there were 3 days of intensive repairs but that as a bonus I have my bag before repairing! Basically, I only have the original fork on my bike, having changed almost everything else.

I would have done without it, but it’s the risk of the job. So I was able to go back to the hotel by bike! Before that, I went to the post office to bring home the old parts of my bike and 2-3 other weight-saving tips.

Day 268-269: Yerevan > Agstafa

With Imad, we have planned to take a train to return to Georgia, by flemme to redo the reverse path or pass through the mountains given the weather forecast. So that’s why the next day, the group splits up and goes back to the configuration we had before. Anaïs, Elsa and Gauthier left on their bikes across Armenia to join Georgia. One last goodbye, because we’ll meet again some day!

So, in the morning we go back to the bike shop to set up the last details of the bike (the last wholesale adjustments) and buy the train tickets, which is at night! After some difficulties in communicating with the person managing the booth, we managed to get our tickets and thus the opportunity to leave the country.

We take off that same evening to arrive in Tbilisi the next morning, where we were only a week before to leave directly for Baku! After a half night’s sleep (customs control at 4 o’ clock in the morning), we arrive at 8 o’ clock in the morning at the central station. We don’t even take the time to have a coffee on the road, we have 62 kilometers to go before we get to the border.

The road passes quietly and without forcing us to arrive at 11:30 am at the first customs post. 1 hour later, we are still waiting for our new country, where we take a walk to the left and right, because nobody really knows where we should go. We also notice that people lack civic-mindedness too, going beyond each other to be the next to pass.

A few tens of minutes later, we arrived in order to check the papers where I was surprised to be refused entry to the country simply because I had only written my first name on the visa. So I let Imad leave so as not to slow him down and here I am to turn back (from the blow 2 new tampons) and to look for a hotel to have wifi and to redo an emergency visa and maybe stay one (or more) night on the spot while waiting for the new visa.

A mile from the border, I see a hotel and so I head for there. On the spot I get barked from everywhere by a group of dogs, but I don’t mind if I track until the reception is completely empty but with wifi accessible without a password. I find myself less than 2 minutes later sending an email to the agency to rewrite a visa and then in the process to rewrite an emergency visa (less than 3 hours). 2 hours later, I’m here with a new visa, compliant this time, for 50€ instead of 20€ in the “normal”course. I later found out that it could have cost me just 3€ because I had the possibility of editing it online.

When I left the hotel, I had the pack of dogs after me again, but this time more aggressive to the point of biting my bike and my legs. To get rid of it, I had no choice but to be violent and kick it so they would leave and leave me alone.

Anyway, I’m once again at the customs, but this time it’s okay, I’m over! In the meantime, I’ve heard from Imad who is looking for a hotel to spend the night: it’s 30 kilometers away!

I hadn’t been pedaling alone for a long time and it was a strange feeling, I was looking forward to finding my sidekick! Two hours later we meet in the motel of a petrol station, but unfortunately there was no room available. After trying 3-4 hotels, we found ourselves having to cycle through the night for another 10 kilometers to find a warm roof after this hectic day!

Result of the day: 110 km

Day 270: Agstafa > Ganja

I’m more than 100 kilometers away from pedaling with my new kit and no problem to report, good to say the truth. To “save time”, we decide to stay on the main road to Baku, as the road is extremely flat from Ganja, our evening destination.

For lunch, we stop at a small restaurant where a Russian man who came on holiday here gave us the meal! We were able to eat our food and even have some for the evening, the “chef” having given us a bag of something super good (I don’t know the name, sorry).

It is important to point out that breaks are much rarer than before (even when we were both, the weather is cooler than in Turkey, so we can now manage to link 30-40 kilometers without any problems.

Just after our second break (and the last one of the day), we had the right to rain coming to titillate us.

Once we arrive in Ganja, we have the impression that the city has just grown, with large buildings, imposing and totally new. For the evening after checking out two-three youth hostels, we are taking a city tour and we had the opportunity to open the shopping mall of the city!

Result of the day: 98 km

Day 271: Ganja > Yevlakh

That day, the continuation of the journey for the following days will take a radical turn. After having let go of the resurrected city (because everything is in the process of renovation but we don’t have the impression), we head towards Yevlakh, our goal of the day.

This is the first time since the beginning of the journey that we have had a flat road to our destination.

20 kilometers from our destination, a monster entered our lives. A little puppy named Golgot by Imad, the baby’s godfather.

Because yes, on the side of the road we see 3 small puppies (one of which is in poor condition) next to their parents. Given the size, weight and their hesitant steps to walk they should not be more than 2-3 weeks old. As a result, I take one with me and use it as a furry travel companion to try to make his life happier than it is now. So I emptied my front bag to put it in, where it fits perfectly into!

In any case it is too KIKI when it works etc., yes I totally fell in love with it. We spent the night behind a restaurant where 4 other puppies were present, I was completely gaga. I had initially left my baby outside with the pouch, but seeing him in the cold and afraid that he would leave, so I tucked him in so I tented him where he spent the night sleeping stuck to me. I got two pee-pees in the tent and one on the down.

Result of the day: 79 km

Day 272: Yevlakh > Kurdamir

First full day with the cute little monster. Despite the fact that he’s here, we continue our good distances between breaks and we’re chaining the kilometers despite a knee pain that I have a little more than the day before. So I’m in slow motion and Imad tracks. We end up in a coffee shop a little further away where we managed to scam the price of a tea (usually at 1 pesos) because we hadn’t asked before.

When I left I was lucky enough to have not one but two punctures in my tyres, giving us a few more minutes of break.

For the evening we stop in a hotel that agrees to take Golgot (leaving him in the “cellar”). I recommend this hotel because the owner could give us a discounted rate, take us to a great restaurant and use his time to make us feel comfortable! For the name of the hotel it is the “Guest House Otel Kurdamir“, present behind the station for those who want to go there!

Result of the day: 88 km

Day 273: Kurdamir > Qizilburun

It was a quiet day, despite the increasing pain in my knee. For the evening, we force ourselves to find a place to spend the night. We finally find refuge behind a restaurant (finally the girls will have converted us!) to set up the tent.

We’ll spend most of the night in the rain, Golgot always beside me.

Result of the day: 112 km

Day 274: Qizilburun > Baku

After waking up in the rain, 40 kilometers of flat/lower and a wind in the back, here we are with a NO wind pushing us to the side of the road, so powerful it is and making the journey very complicated (at least for me). Having Golgot with me, wanting to take him to the vet to make his passport and treat him against his ticks (and others), I decide to stop and hitchhike, having absolutely no pleasure to ride in these conditions.

After 20 minutes, a car could take me to Baku (in the city centre!), where I unfortunately think I lost my cap… Imad is still driving in front of the wind (and the sea). We don’t have a specific meeting point, but we know that we will find wifi quickly to get in touch and find it again.

Arriving here, I went to a pet store to get the first information about the passport, vaccinations etc. The manager (very strange indeed) was able to give me the address of a veterinarian to do the procedures. It’s 11:00 a. m. and I have an appointment at 2:00 there. So I patiently wait in front of McDonald’s to have some wifi and leave the little boy in the park across the street where everyone seems happy to see her and wants to touch/bear/kiss her and so on.

It’s 12:30 p. m. and I meet my friend near McDonald’s to tour youth hostels to limit the cost of accommodation. After making a few of them, we meet in the old town where we will have our first night.

It’s 2:30, I’m late but I still find the vet. He explains to me that he cannot normally do the passport because he has to do the vaccinations beforehand, but as Golgot is sick (worms, ticks), he has to wait 10 days before doing them. Not having the time to stay here, he still gives me a passport indicating the vaccinations (which are not done at all).

He took the opportunity to get rid of all his ticks (there was a big pack of them) and I took advantage of a cross shop on the road to buy him a cage, bowls and croquettes. In the evening we go back to our inn where I spent the night sleeping in the cellar with my baby in my sleeping bag because he couldn’t sleep without me. I don’t tell you how the old lady (yes, I say old because she was absolutely not nice) would look like when the little monster was crying.

Result of the day: 57 km

Day 275-277: Baku

After that night not of any comfort (at least for me) and despite that, we do not change our plan and go to the Iranian embassy to collect our visas in the company of the fur ball. We take a bus to reach the embassy that issues visas (because here there are two Iranian embassies but only one of them issues visas). We learn on the spot that visas are not being issued at this time and that it will take 3 weeks (or never) to be able to make the visas. So we paid 35€ for nothing, but above all it changes all our future plans.

After thinking about everything, we decide to fly directly to New Delhi. As soon as the embassy has left, we take a taxi to go to the Indian embassy to get as much information as possible about the visa. On the spot we learn that we simply need an eVisa, which we did directly (with some difficulties anyway) when we returned to our new youth hostel, having changed the previous day.

For the evening, I confiscate Golgot to the manager of the inn who will take care of it during our absence because with Imad we go to the restaurant to link it up (it wasn’t planned) on the rest of the evening in a bar with a pool table. We return at 2 o’ clock in the morning (been gone at 7 o’ clock), where I find the cute little creature on the balcony crying. I couldn’t put it in the room and it was too cold outside, so I had a hard time having to leave it outside all night.

Wake up at 6 a. m. for his screams, where I saw the police at the door to report my baby for nocturnal disturbance. Once with him, I stayed 2 hours in the cold to reassure him and wait until everyone was awake to bring him back to the room, where he slept directly on my bed.

Having had to fly to continue the trip and the company not taking pets, I have no choice but to leave Golgot here. I don’t want to traumatize him with the plane. After a call to the first centre, he tells me that they can’t accept it because they are full. Despite that, being at a coffee shop, a waiter would have kindly adopted my baby and swore to take care of me. So I gave him everything I bought the day before, so that he would be equipped as never before.

I’m going to stop talking about Golgot, I had to write this article myself and I apologize for that.

In the afternoon we meet Elvin, working at the Hilton with whom we met in Trabzon during his honeymoon! He offered us a coffee (of the Hilton anyway!) to celebrate our “reunion”, we let him finish his service while we take advantage with Imad to buy tickets to see the football game of the year! Indeed, the FK Qarabag (“country” independent of Azerbaijan), plays the same evening against Atletico Madrid! I can tell you that the atmosphere in the stadium was crazy despite the draw. Before the game we had the chance to see that our visas are ready, so we can leave!

Today we booked our plane tickets, take off tomorrow at 5:55pm, with a stopover of 2h40 in Dubai to arrive at 04:00am in New Delhi! So we had to look for boxes for our bikes. We meet at VeloBrend, a bike shop that was able to supply us with boxes but also to repair the problems I had along the way! He even gave us some tea and we had to spend 2-3 hours in the shop because we were so good.

For the evening we made dinner directly at the inn, now being in super economy mode.

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